Success on the ice is not new to Harry Matheson ’14. The Ontario native has gone through all the proper channels since he started skating at age four, learning the basics on his own backyard rink. He came to the United States to go to prep school, following in the footsteps of his brother and hockey role model. He also emulated his prep school coach, who played hockey at Bowdoin.
Matheson’s success as a Polar Bear began almost as soon as he arrived. As a first year, he often got ice time during power plays and immediately demonstrated an ability to put the puck in the net. He has also proven to be a gifted passer from his spot on the wing, and leads the NESCAC in assists.
Head Coach Terry Meagher has called him a core player since day one and counts on him to perform when the game is on the line.
Matheson sports the athletic IQ, work ethic, and competitiveness that captain and line-mate Dan Weiniger ’13 said makes him “a phenomenal hockey player.”
“Harry’s pretty focused, and kind of quiet,” said Matheson’s roommate and fellow teammate Colin Downey ’14. “He leads by example.”
But Matheson’s success has made it difficult for him to stay under the radar. This season has been his most productive. He has now pulled into a tie for the conference lead in points after netting three goals last week, a performance that earned him NESCAC Player of the Week honors. He has scored six more points than the next player on the list, a stat the modest Matheson claimed he is oblivious to.
According to Coach Meagher, Harry’s success was imminent.
“He went through the adjustment and development phase but he had a quick learning curve,” Meagher said. “Harry possesses everything you want in a player: a solid skill set and understanding of the game. He’s a coach’s dream.”
Matheson acknowledged that he has progressed as a player during his time at Bowdoin.
“I have a bigger role on the team now,” he said. “It means I’m being counted on, expected to produce or score goals.
Matheson is always picking apart his own game. He said that showing more discipline in the defensive zone would make a difference to the team, and make him a more well-rounded player.
Weiniger has nothing but praise for Matheson’s discipline.
“He is just so easy to play with,” he said, “You always know he’s going to make that little play that helps the team win games.”
“He works hard down low so I can get space, or he gets open so I can feed him the puck,” said Downey, echoing that sentiment. “He thinks well.”
According to Downey, Matheson takes his job seriously and always finds a way to be in the right place at the right time. When he is not working, he is recharging so he can work some more.
He values his discipline and seeks to improve it, even though it has become one of his defining characteristics. It allows him to focus, or “play and compute at pace,” as Meagher put it.
“His focus in games shows his passion,” said Meagher. “It’s like his Novocain. The game of hockey suits him.”
His discipline even permeates into his preparation.
“I get dressed the same way, finish warming up at exactly the same time,” Matheson said, before claiming he is not one to believe in superstitious pre-game rituals. “Sometimes I kick a soccer ball around before just to clear my mind of all things hockey.”
“But I’m ready when the game starts,” he said, as if justifying his own relaxation.
To his credit, he has proven ready all season long.